Rutgers vs. Maryland Odds, Expert Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide (Thursday, Jan. 5)

Rutgers vs. Maryland Odds, Expert Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide (Thursday, Jan. 5) article feature image

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Clifford Omoruyi (Rutgers)

  • Fresh off a win over No. 1 Purdue, Rutgers looks to continue its hot streak against Maryland on Thursday.
  • The Terps have fallen back down to Earth lately, including a 81-46 loss to Maryland last time out.
  • Cooper Van Tatenhove breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Rutgers vs. Maryland Odds

Thursday, Jan. 5
6:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Rutgers Odds
-105o / -115u
Maryland Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Thursday night's matchup between Maryland and Rutgers is what makes Big Ten basketball so intriguing. Both of these teams will be in dramatically different head spaces coming into this game. 

Maryland is coming off a loss to Michigan in which it was dominated for the full 40 minutes, losing 81-46.

This is the Terrapins' fourth loss in their last six games, with their only two wins coming against Saint Peter’s and UMBC, both of whom are outside the top 230. 

Meanwhile, Rutgers is coming off its biggest win of the season, taking down No. 1 Purdue in West Lafayette, 65-64. The Scarlet Knights played a balanced game on both ends, with three players finishing in double-figures.

For Maryland to get back on track, it will need to see an improvement on the offensive end of the floor, as the Terrapins have failed to score more than 70 points since December 2. 

This will be easier said than done against a Rutgers defensive unit that has carried the Scarlet Knights this season.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers' seventh-year head coach Steve Pikiell has used size and experience to build one of the best defensive units in the country.

Through 14 games, the Scarlet Knights rank third nationally in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (84.4) and fourth in effective field goal percentage allowed (41.6%).

These impressive numbers are the result of a Rutgers team that uses its size (19th in average height) to pressure teams for the full 94 feet.

In addition to defense, Rutgers has played methodically on offense during its current four-game winning streak. The Scarlet Knights have averaged just over 80 points per game in all four contests.

On Thursday, Rutgers will look to keep this offensive momentum going by capitalizing inside the arc. The Scarlet Knights have been at their best this season inside the 3-point line, scoring 57.9% of their points from this range (34th nationally).

To continue this interior success, Rutgers will look to Paul Mulcahy and Clifford Omoruyi against a Maryland team that has struggled at preventing penetration this season.

Through 14 games, the Terrapins have allowed their opponents to score 57.2% of their points from 2-point range, the 30th=highest rate in the country. This can be attributed to the poor play of the frontcourt duo of Donta Scott and Julian Reese.

Neither Scott nor Reese have been able to record double-digit rebounds in the past five games. This will spell trouble against Omoruyi, who has led the Scarlet Knights in scoring and rebounding, averaging just under a double-double (14.8 points and 9.8 rebounds).

Lastly, Mulcahy has created all sorts of problems for teams that have struggled to defend the interior. Mulcahy was able to notch 16 points by attacking Purdue's frontcourt.

Rutgers and Paul Mulcahy scored on the same set 4 times in the final 5:30 of their upset win vs. #1 Purdue.

The set is basically Zoom action (pindown –> DHO) on both sides & the 5 with the ball out top.

Allowed Mulcahy to get middle & attack downhill against drop coverage.

— Eric Shapiro (@eric_shap) January 3, 2023

Overall, I expect the Rutgers offense to continue its success against a favorable matchup.

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Maryland Terrapins

Since Maryland’s December 2 victory over Illinois, the Terrapins have been in free fall. Maryland’s two most recent losses came in shocking fashion, losing by an average of 26 points in each contest. 

This has been due to an offense that has fallen out of the top 50 in both KenPom’s adjusted efficiency rankings (108.2) and Evan Miya’s OBPR (6.5).

Offensively, Maryland inability to connect from beyond the 3-point line has been a killer. The Terrapins are shooting just 30.8% from this range (293rd nationally).

As a result, Maryland's offense has relied heavily on its ability to get to the free-throw line. The Terrapins score just under 20% of their points from the charity stripe, which is among the top-100 rates in the country.

These trips to the free-throw line will not come easy against a Rutgers team that has had success defending without fouling this season.

The Scarlet Knights allow their opponents to score just 18.5% of their points from the free-throw line, which is in line with the national average.

For Maryland's offense to improve, so must the play of Jahmir Young, who is used on over 29.1% of Maryland’s offensive possessions. This usage is due to his 23.5% assist rate (254th among all D-I players).

Unfortunately for the Terrapins, Young has struggled in Maryland's last two games against ranked opponents, scoring just three points against UCLA and five against Michigan. 

This inability to play up to his competition as of late is important, as Young will be matched up with one of the best on-ball defenders in the country on Thursday night. Cam Spencer has the 21st-highest steal percentage among D-I players at 5%.

As a whole, Rutgers has been great at creating pressure this season, ranking 12th nationally in turnover percentage (24.8%) and sixth nationally in steal percentage (14.8%). 

In order for Maryland’s offense to improve, Young will have to match the 18, 17 and 25-point performances he was able to string together in early December.

Rutgers vs. Maryland Betting Pick

Rutgers will return home on Thursday in what will arguably be a letdown spot for the Scarlet Knight after knocking off the No. 1 team in the country.

Fortunately for them, they're matched up against a Maryland team that hasn't impressed as of late.

The Terrapins have specifically struggled on the interior and in finding consistent offense success. I see this as an ideal matchup for Omoruyi, who is fresh off a matchup with All-American C Zach Edey.

That being said, I believe the smartest investment is on a Rutgers team that has finally matched its stellar defensive play with a potent offensive attack.

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